Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday held that alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike alias Evans, and Victor Aduba, a dismissed soldier, made voluntary statements to the police regarding their alleged involvement in kidnappings.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in a ruling on Friday, the judge said that Evans and Aduba, during a trial-within-trial to determine the admissibility of their statements to the police, never provided to the court any proof of coercion or torture.
“The video of the first defendant (Evans), giving his statement, was played in open court. The first defendant appeared relaxed and was smiling in the video. There was no visible threat of violence or coercion.
“The defendants’ counsel did not report to the authorities about the alleged torture before proceedings began. The first defendant’s stories appeared to be contrived for the purpose of this trial.
“I have carefully taken into consideration the arguments contained in the written addresses, and there is insufficient evidence of torture and coercion.
“I find that the defendants’ statements were made voluntarily. I accept the statements of the two defendants as exhibits and they are so marked Exhibits F and G,” she said.
NAN reports that during the trial-within-trial, Evans and Aduba told the court that they were tortured by the police before their statements were obtained.
Evans claimed that he fabricated stories in his statement to the police as a result of the torture and that he forcefully signed over 25 statements after watching executions of individuals paraded alongside him by the police.
In his evidence, Aduba claimed that Insp. Idowu Haruna of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team showed him photographs of dead bodies and slapped him when he made a request to call a lawyer.
Haruna and Sgt. Julius Okundeye, who testified in the trial-within-trial on behalf of the police, said that the defendants’ statements were not made under any form of duress.
Earlier, during Friday’s proceedings, Evans informed the court that he had no legal representation.
The judge, however, told him that since he was without a lawyer in the previous two court proceedings, the court had made an arrangement for Mrs O.A Adeyemi, a lawyer from Office of the Public Defender (OPD), to defend him.
State counsel, Mrs A. O. Olugasa, sought an adjournment of the case, informing the court that the prosecution witness, Insp. Idowu Haruna, was unavailable.
Adeyemi and Emmanuel Ochai, Evans’ and Aduba’s counsel, respectively, did not object to the prosecution’s request for adjournment.
Justice Taiwo adjourned the case until June 21 for continuation of trial.
NAN reports that Evans and Aduba are facing a four-count charge of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
Evans and the dismissed soldier were also accused of kidnapping Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu, holding him hostage for at least nine weeks and collecting a ransom of 420,000 dollars from his family